|>||Are there tax limits on the amount I can contribute to the TSP?|
|>||What happens if I exceed the applicable limits?|
|>||Does my participation in the TSP affect my IRA?|
|>||How do other legal requirements affect my TSP account?|
|>||How do I access my account information on the TSP Web site?|
|>||How can I use the TSP Web site?|
|>||What is the ThriftLine?|
|>||How do I get written verification of my account balance?|
|>||How do I access my account information through the ThriftLine?|
|>||Back to Features Table of Contents|
Yes. The IRS sets an annual limit — the elective deferral limit — on the amount that you can contribute to a tax-deferred retirement plan such as the TSP. The elective deferral limit is adjusted by law each year to take into account increases in the cost of living. Section 402(g) of the Internal Revenue Code limits the maximum amount of your pay that you can contribute to the TSP to $15,500 for 2008 and $16,500 for 2009. Participants who are also making contributions from incentive, special, or bonus pay must be aware of this limit because the limit also applies to these types of contributions.
Note: You can only make these types of contributions if you are also contributing from basic pay. The TSP will not accept contributions that exceed this limit unless you are eligible to make "catch-up" contributions (see below).
If you are a member of the Ready Reserve and also contribute to a TSP account or to another qualified plan, the total tax-deferred contributions you make to all plans cannot exceed the elective deferral limit. If you contribute to both a civilian and a uniformed services TSP account in a single calendar year, the TSP will refund any excess contributions to your combined TSP accounts.
For detailed information on how to spread out your contributions over the entire year, see the TSP Fact Sheet, "Annual Limit on Elective Deferrals" on this Web site or obtain a copy from your service. You can also use the elective deferral calculator on this Web site.
In addition to the elective deferral limit, each year there is an IRS limit on the amount of catch-up contributions that a participant can make. These contributions are in addition to regular (including incentive, special, and bonus pay) tax-deferred contributions. To be eligible to make catch-up contributions for any year, you must either be age 50 or older or turn age 50 that year. As with regular tax-deferred contributions, the combined total of catch-up contributions to all eligible plans cannot exceed the annual catch-up contribution limit, which is $5,000 for 2008 and $5,500 for 2009.
See the chart below for the IRS and TSP limits on regular tax-deferred contributions from basic, incentive, special, and bonus pay, and catch-up contributions from basic pay:
|Year||TSP Limits||IRS Limits|
|FERS||CSRS||Uniformed Services||Regular Contributions*||Catch-Up Contributions||Total Contributions|
* For uniformed services participants, this includes incentive pay and special pay, including bonus pay.
The IRS also imposes a limit on the total amount of all contributions a participant can contribute for a year. This IRS section 415(c) limit applies to all contributions (i.e., tax-deferred and tax-exempt) made to a participant's TSP account. For 2008, the total amount a participant can contribute is $46,000 or 100% of compensation, whichever is the lesser amount. For 2009, the limit is $49,000. Participants who expect to contribute substantial amounts of special, incentive, or bonus pay need to pay particular attention to this limit.
What happens if I exceed the applicable limits?
If you contribute to the TSP and another tax-deferred plan during the year, your combined contributions to all tax-deferred plans cannot exceed the IRS limit as it applies to your particular combination of plans. (The maximum amount that you can contribute to the TSP and other plans — for example, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans — varies.) If you have questions about your situation, you should consult your tax advisor or the IRS.
If you exceed the applicable annual limits because you contributed to more than one plan, you can request a refund of the excess amount from one or more of the plans. The TSP must receive your completed application by March 31 of the year after the excess contributions were made. If you do not ask for the excess amount, you will pay taxes on it twice: once for the year in which you contributed it to the TSP, and again when you withdraw it.
If you contribute to two TSP accounts (civilian and uniformed services) during the year, your combined contributions to both plans cannot exceed the IRS limit. If you exceed the elective deferral limit because you made excess contributions to two TSP accounts, the TSP will notify you that the excess money will be returned to you from your uniformed services account (unless you specify otherwise) in order to reduce the effect on civilian matching contributions.
Does my participation in the TSP affect my IRA?
Participation in the TSP does not affect your ability to contribute to an IRA. However, because you are covered by a Government retirement plan (i.e., the uniformed services retirement system), your ability to make tax-deductible contributions to an IRA depends upon your income and that of your spouse.
You can transfer or roll over amounts from an eligible retirement plan (including a traditional IRA and an eligible employer plan) into the TSP; that money will not be subject to the IRS elective deferral limit. When you separate, you can transfer or roll over your TSP account to an IRA without regard to the annual limits that the IRS imposes on contributions to IRAs. You may also be eligible to transfer your TSP account to a Roth IRA.
How do other legal requirements affect my TSP account?
A TSP account can be divided by a court in an action for divorce, annulment, or legal separation. It also can be garnished to pay a participant's past due child support or alimony obligations, or to satisfy a judgment related to child abuse. However, a TSP account is immune from the claims of third parties, such as creditors in a bankruptcy action. For more information, see the booklet Information About Court Orders and Powers of Attorney and the Fact Sheet: Bankruptcy Information.
How do I access my account information on the TSP Web site?
You can obtain access to your account on the TSP Web site through the Account Access section. To access your account information, you will need your SSN and your 8-character Web password. The TSP mails Web passwords to all new participants after receiving their first contribution. Participants who have open TSP accounts are prompted to choose a password of their choice when they enter Account Access for the first time after the passwords went into effect in May 2007. Your Web password will not not give you access to your account through the ThriftLine.
Your password is not the same as other passwords you use for other Web sites.
If you lose your Web password, you can request a new one on this Web site. Your new password will be mailed to your TSP address of record. You will not have access to your account through the Web site until you receive it. You can also change your password at any time. Your customized password will be effective immediately.
For Frequently Asked Questions regarding Web passwords, see the Web Password and ThriftLine PIN Questions and Answers.
How can I use the TSP Web site?
This Web site is the most efficient way to get current information about the TSP, monthly and historical rates of return and daily and historical share prices for the TSP investment funds, the current loan interest rate and annuity interest rate index, and copies of TSP materials. You can use the interactive calculators to project the growth of your account (using different assumptions of salary, number of years until withdrawal, and rates of return) to estimate monthly withdrawal payments, and to estimate annuity payments from different types of TSP annuities. You can also use the loan calculator to estimate loan payments based on the amount you want to borrow from your TSP account, the current loan interest rate, and other factors. Higher paid employees can use the elective deferral calculator to determine a dollar amount they can contribute each pay period to maximize contributions. If you have lost or forgotten your Web password, you can use this Web site to request that a new one be mailed to you.
If you are a participant in the TSP, you can use the secure area of this Web site (Account Access) to obtain information about your TSP account or to execute certain transactions. (You will need your TSP account number (or custom user ID) and Web password. In addition, your browser must be equipped with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and have 128-bit encryption.) You can find out your account balance, change the allocation of your future payroll contributions among the TSP funds, and request an interfund transfer. You can find out the amount available for you to borrow and begin, and in some cases, complete, a loan request; you can also reamortize a loan. In addition, you also can find out your outstanding loan balance and prepayment information. If you are separated from service, you also can update your name and address. You can initiate, and, in some cases, complete requests for in-service withdrawals and post-employment withdrawals, using fillable forms on this Web site. You can change your existing Web password to a Web password of your choice and see your participant statement online.
Click here for a quick reference guide.
What is the ThriftLine?
The ThriftLine is the automated telephone service for the TSP, which is generally available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from a touch-tone telephone. The toll-free ThriftLine number is 1-TSP-YOU-FRST (1-877-968-3778). You can use the ThriftLine to find out plan news, daily and historical share prices for the TSP funds, the monthly rates of return for the TSP investment funds, the most recent 12-month rates of return, the current loan interest rate, and the current annuity interest rate index. If you have lost or forgotten your ThriftLine PIN, you can use the ThriftLine to request that a new one be mailed to you. You can also request that certain TSP materials be mailed to you.
If you are a participant in the TSP, you can use the ThriftLine to obtain information about your account or to execute certain transactions. (You will need your TSP account number and your ThriftLine PIN.) You can find out your account balance and the amount available for you to borrow, change your existing PIN to a PIN of your choice, and request a contribution allocation or an interfund transfer. You can also find out the status of your loan or withdrawal request.
Click here for a quick reference guide.
How do I get written verification of my account balance?
Occasionally, participants need verification of their current account balances (for example, when they are applying for mortgages or commercial loans). If your most recent participant statement, this Web site, or the ThriftLine will not provide this information, your financial institution should send a request (along with your signed disclosure statement) to the TSP. The request should include your TSP account number and your date of birth.
How do I access my account information through the ThriftLine?
You can access your account through the ThriftLine to check your account balance and perform some transactions. To access your account information, you will need your TSP account number and your 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). The TSP mails your ThriftLine PIN after receiving your first contribution. Your PIN will only give you access to your account through the ThriftLine; it will not give you access to your account through the TSP Web site.
Your ThriftLine PIN is not the same as PINs for other uniformed services systems (e.g., myPay). For assistance with non-TSP PINs, you must contact your service.
If you lose your ThriftLine PIN, you can request a new one on the ThriftLine. Your new PIN will be mailed to your TSP address of record. You will not have access to your account through the ThriftLine until you receive it. You can also use the ThriftLine to change your TSP PIN at any time. Your customized PIN will be effective immediately.
For Frequently Asked Questions regarding ThriftLine PINs, see the Web Password and ThriftLine PIN Questions and Answers.
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